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-- State & National Conference --

What you missed, what was discussed and what to expect from the National conference in Nashville.

NGAW members talk with MG Bret Daugherty and other leadership during the lunchtime break out session at the NGAW conference. photo by Winterfeld Photography


Benefits for Active-Duty Military Personnel, Reserve, Guard, and Veterans: •

GI Bill Benefits—WGU programs are approved for VA benefits under the GI Bill Eligibility and the amounts available depend upon your years of service and other factors.

Tuition Assistance—The competency-based degree programs at WGU are approved for tuition assistance for active-duty, Reserve, and Guard service members.

WGU Military Service Scholarship—This scholarship, valued up to $2,000, is designed for military personnel, retired military, and military spouses who wish to advance their education in business, teacher education, information technology, or healthcare, (including nursing).





A non-profit professional organization established in 1891 that is comprised of officer and enlisted members both active and retired and is organized at the state level for the purpose of lobbying for, and securing, the most effective legislation, maximizing Washington State Army and Air Guardsmen benefits and resources. NOW Magazine is a quarterly publication that highlights the work of the National Guard Assocation of Washington in supporting the Washington National Guard.

STATE CONFERENCE REVIEW state conference in Spokane brought a lot of interest from PG. 5 The around the Guard and some big news as well!

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A new state operating budget brought the return of the Guard’s scholarship fund.

A visit to the Starbuck headquarters in Seattle brought new ideas to NGAW.

Nashville here we come! Learn about the national conference and why attending is important.

National Guard Association of Washington

(253) 584-5411

Photos by Winterfeld Photography


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT KRISTIN DERDA Thank you for your time and commitment to our Washington National Guard and our National Guard Association. As a Guard Member and spouse of a Guard Member, I understand that dedication to our organization isn’t always easy, but it is truly rewarding and an honor to serve our state and nation.

I appreciate your confidence in me to lead the NGAW as your president for the next two years. This responsibility is one I take whole heartedly, and am eager to see the new accomplishments this great organization will achieve with the strength and commitment of our incoming board members. This is a time of transition for our organization as we begin looking at the future for NGAW. After talking with other states during the national conference, their associations take on larger roles in their states and I truly believe ours can do the same, but it starts with you. It starts with a little bit of your time, talking with your friends and colleagues about the association.

Tell them about our organization and the benefits the NGAW is working on: tuition assistance for Air Guard Members, free hunting and fishing licenses, free discover passes, and other benefits for our Guard members and families. And don't forget our success story this year when we convinced legislators to reinstate funding for our state National Guard Scholarship. In addition to local benefits, share with them the work we do nationally to fight to protect the force structure of our Army National Guard and upgrade the equipment of some of our Air National Guard units, while we continue to fight to secure cyber missions for our future.

These things don’t happen without NGAW standing beside NGAUS and EANGUS to vocalize the message to our elected officials. That is why it is so important for us to talk about our association; tell each other the importance behind it and why membership matters. It’s our time now.

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At the end of June, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new two-year state operating budget, avoiding a state government shutdown. Part of the new budget also reinstates funding to the National Guard Conditional Scholarship Program! Restoring this funding has been the top priority for NGAW for the past two years. This allows $200,000 over the next two years for Washington National Guardsmen to use on their secondary education. “This couldn’t have happened without State Representative Pat Sullivan and his support,” said Kristin Derda, President of NGAW. “He campaigned for our bill to pass and this is outstanding.” Over the next few months, NGAW will be working with the Washington Military Department to create a process for Guardsmen to receive this benefit.

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From the Washington Military Department Evergreen Magazine

81st ‘Stryker’ Brigade!

Washington’s Armored Brigade Combat Team to convert to Stryker Brigade Story by Capt. Joseph Siemandel Washington National Guard

On July 9, the Washington National Guard received confirmation that its 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team, which currently

operates M1A1 Abrams Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, will be converted into a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “This is a huge win for Washington state,” said Major General Bret Daugherty, the state’s adjutant general and commander of the Washington National Guard. “Our tanks and Bradleys are critical for our federal mission, however, they’re too heavy to move on our local roads making them almost useless following a state disaster. The Strykers are a more mobile, versatile vehicle that will ensure the Washington National Guard can get out into our communities and perform its mission to save lives and protect property here at home. That ability will be especially important following a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami. The conversion also aligns us more closely with our partners at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, enabling our soldiers to receive unique training to help prepare for any future overseas deployments.” “This was a huge undertaking that took years of hard work and collaboration,” Daugherty continued. “I met personally with every member of our Congressional delegation to stress the importance of this conversion and appreciate their ongoing efforts to make this happen. Governor Inslee was a strong backer of this proposal and

an important advocate on our behalf. And our state Legislature and local elected leaders and civic organizations helped emphasize the benefits to both our state and nation. I truly appreciate everyone’s assistance and support, and look forward to working with our partners to ensure a successful conversion.” Washington will become just the second state to have a Stryker Brigade within its National Guard, joining the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which converted in 2006. The 81st Brigade, headquartered in Seattle, is the largest brigade-sized element in the Washington National Guard, responsible for more than 3,200 Guardsmen stationed in Washington and 600 in San Bernardino, California. The brigade deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004-2005, 2008-2009). The citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Washington National Guard are dedicated to the mission of safeguarding lives and property in Washington state, and serving as sentinels for freedom overseas.





olfing at one of the premier courses in the inland northwest, touring Washington’s oldest distillery, talking with local politicians and learning more about your Washington National Guard highlighted this year’s state conference in Spokane. “We wanted to put together a great program and think we did that with this year’s conference,” said Kristin Derda, Vice President, National Guard Association of Washington. “We wanted it to not just be fun but informative to those in attendance.” Members that showed up on Friday morning had the chance to hit the links for the annual NGAW conference golf tournament. Others that showed up later in the day, had the chance to get a private tour of the Dry Fly Distillery; Washington’s first legalized distillery. “It was fascinating to learn about the process the ownership team had to go through to make their dreams happen,” said Drew Nevins, NGAW member. “They had to put in a lot of work to get the laws changed in our state, and that is similar to what we are trying to do in the association.” Working to change laws, and gain benefits for our Guard is the main objective of the association and part of the conference process is talking about initiatives and resolutions that the association will propose in the next year. During the business session on Saturday, NGAW members decided to continue pushing for hunting and fishing

Photos by Winterfeld Photography

license, discovery pass and college tuition benefits for our Guardsmen. “We made some great strides last year with our state legislature, and we will continue to strive to get the best benefits for our Guard,” said Kevin McMahan, NGAW Legislative committee during his brief on Saturday. Saturday also featured a slew of guest speakers including Major General Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general, who discussed the state of the National Guard and assistant adjutants general, Brig. Gen. Wallace Turner and John Tuohy, as they highlighted both the Army and Air National Guard. Major General (ret) Gus Hargett, President, National Guard Association of the United States discussed the work that is happening in Washington D.C. as NGAUS fights to protect equipment and force structure for the 54 states and territories they support.

“We have some great friends on Capitol Hill and NGAUS is really doing some great work to protect our guard,” - Gus Hargett

Two of the most energetic and passionate speakers though were two local speakers; Mayor David Condon and State Senator Andy Billig.

“Spokane is a city that is enriched in military history, we have some of the oldest National Guard units in the state and Fairchild Air Force Base,” said David Condon, Mayor of Spokane and nine-year Army veteran, served both on active duty and in the reserves, was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Sept 11, 2001. “After I finish up here I have to go out and join 100,000 others to celebrate our military during the annual Lilac Parade.” Billig, senator from the 3rd district and part owner of the Spokane Indians baseball team was just as equally supportive of the military. “Our Washington National Guard was here before Washington was even a state, it is great to see that for 160 years we have had the tradition of citizen-soldiers that protect our state in times of need.” Besides from the guest speakers; business sessions on both Saturday and Sunday we filled with planning for the upcoming year’s work that includes visiting legislatures during the off-session time, hosting events to increase members, meeting with corporate partners and planning for both the 2015 NGAUS and EANGUS National Conferences and the 2016 state conference in Bremerton. “The state conference is important, but the best thing for our members to do is go to the national conference,” said Derda. “We have fun and learn a lot about what is happening in the National Guard.”

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR CORPORATE PARTNERS RAPIDGate Transhield Inc Maddox Western Governors University Western Shelters Cobham Basefit United Healthcare National University Gerber Gear Oshkosh Defense Big Ass Fans Benefits Architect AM General LLC Sikorsky Aircraft TRICARE Puget Sound Energy Boeing City University of Seattle Grand Canyon University Kaplan University University of Washington - Tacoma

Photos by Winterfeld Photography

The NGAUS conference returns to Tennessee! M usic City USA will play host to the National Guard Association of the United States national conference on September

10-13. This marks the fourth time Nashville has held the conference and first time in six years that the famed Gaylord Opryland Resort welcomes Guardsmen from across the country. “This will be my second national conference, so I am excited to go back and learn more about what is happening across the country,” said LTC Chris Blanco, NGAW Board member. “I anticipate the new officers that attend will enjoy this experience. Blanco’s mention of learning about what is happening across the country, is in reference to the discussions and guest speakers at NGAUS, which include Gen. Frank Grass, the Chief of National Guard Bureau, Lt. Gen. Tim Kadavy, Director of the Army National Guard and Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke III, Director of the Air National Guard. Various General officers, elected officials and celebrates make their way on stage as well to address the over 5,000 Guardsmen that are expected to attend NGAUS this year. “Since my days as a second lieutenant, I have missed very few of the annual NGAUS gatherings like the one planned for September in Nashville, Tenn. And I regret missing those few,” said Maj. Gen. Deborah A. Ashenhurst, the Chairwoman of NGAUS and adjutant general of the Ohio National Guard in a letter published in the National Guard magazine. “The

conference offers every National Guard officer an opportunity to reconnect with old friends from around the country, get the latest information on issues important to our force and have some fun at a great location.” The fun starts on day one when attendees tee off during the annual NGAUS Golf Tournament. Also on tap is the Motorcycle Rally to the famous Jack Daniel’s Distillery, a unique event that offers riders the chance to enjoy a two hour ride that ends with a BBQ at the distillery. Company grade officers will trade in their combat boots for cowboy boots at the company grade mixer at the Wild horse Salon, featuring free food and drinks and live music! Friday morning runners will break away from the pack and do the annual conference 5K around the Gaylord Opryland Resort grounds! On top of all that attendees will dress in their western wear on for a special State’s Dinner, which end across the street at the historic Grand Ole Opry for a concert with Country music legend Charlie Daniels! “We are excited to represent Washington this year at the national conference,” said Kristin Derda, NGAW President.” Our delegate team is ready to show what makes our state great and bring back information to the rest of the Washington National Guard.”

CAN’T MAKE IT TO NASHVILLE? PLAN TO ATTEND NGAUS IN THE FUTURE! 138th General Conference Sept. 9 - 12, 2016 in Baltimore Hosted by the Maryland National Guard 139th General Conference Sept. 7 - 10, 2017 in Louisville Hosted by the Kentucky National Guard 140th General Conference Aug. 24 - 27, 2018 in New Orleans Hosted by the Louisiana National Guard


FLYING WITH 141ST ARW NGAW PARTNERS JOIN GUARD FOR AIR REFUELING FLIGHT On August 20, NGAW partners got the rare chance to fly on a training flight with the 141st Air Refueling Wing, Washington Air National Guard. The flight was part of a week-long training/VIP flight series with the Spokane based unit. Representatives from Starbucks, Boeing, Tacoma-Pierce Chamber of Commerce, Cascade Designs, Seattle Mariners and Pierce County Military Business Alliance joined state legislative members, federal congressional staffers and Washington Military Department employees for multiple refueling flights.

Top: An inside look at the cockpit of a Boeing KC-135R, built in 1959. Bottom: Crew Chief shows a group of participants the back of a KC-135R.

NGAW provided food and beverages for each flight, as well as talked with crewmembers about the benefits of membership.

Top: State Legislative members and 141st ARW crew pose for photo in front of KC-135R. Below: Professional Expeditionary Airmen, Team Fairchild

NGAW members visit


Iandn early August, the NGAW Executive Director Amanda West members Chris Blanco and Joe Siemandel meet with the

Starbuck Military Transition team at their corporate headquaters in Seattle to discuss how NGAW can partner with Starbucks. “Having been a partner at Starbucks, it is a great place to start a career,” said Amanda, who worked at Starbucks for more than five years before transitioning to NGAW. “The benefits are amazing and the atmosphere is family orientated.” Starbucks has a comprehensive course that helps military members build careers within the organization. Look for future engagements with Starbucks and NGAW to learn how Guardsmen can get involved with the company!

Learn more about the Starbucks program at

We want to introduce you to your NGAW Board of Directors and new President and Vice President! President: Kristin Derda Vice President: Robert Sweeney Treasurer: Beth Cervantes Officer BOD: Chris Blanco, Lydia Shirley Enlisted BOD: Alton Huckaby, Enlisted BOD: Pedro Cordoba Enlisted BOD: James Heaney Retiree/State Guard BOD: Doyle Burke Enlisted Guild Chair: Zachary Geroux Retiree Guild Chair: Greg Allen

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Officer Members David Hamilton Sophia Carter Anthony Jimenez Bradley Klippert Joshua Bell Jordan Sembower Robert Loniewsky Antony Braun Jon Miller Carl Steele Steven Denham Donald Brewer David Caporicci Alexander Brodd Ben Jones Anthony Lieggi

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A Washington National Guard Blackhawk Helicopter takes off from Chelan Helicopter Base for the First Creek Fire.

The Washington National Guard has the third oldest fleet of Blackhawks in the nation and continue to push the UH-60L to fight the state’s worst wildfire season on record.



Every day, the men and women of the National Guard stand vigilant in service to our country and communities. At Boeing, we’re proud to stand with them in their vital mission.

National Guard Association of Washington 5146 Building 16, Camp Murray Tacoma, WA 98430

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NGAW NOW Magazine - Summer 2015  

Recap of the State Conference, Big News for the 81st Brigade, Partnership with Starbucks and much more!

NGAW NOW Magazine - Summer 2015  

Recap of the State Conference, Big News for the 81st Brigade, Partnership with Starbucks and much more!